Rural communities have traditionally lagged their urban cousins in terms of economic growth and jobs, which has been a persistent challenge for policymakers. This is especially true in the rural South, which throughout much of the 20th century "remained the nation's poorest region even as southern urban centers flourished," notes staff writer Charles Davidson in the third-quarter issue of EconSouth.
In "Wanted: Jobs 2.0 in the Rural Southeast," he explores the challenges associated with creating jobs in the region's rural communities. As economic developers have found, it often takes more than tax incentives and inexpensive land to attract new employers. One popular method among researchers and policy analysts is so-called "economic gardening," which focuses on nurturing existing businesses and local start-ups.
But as Davidson details throughout the article, the challenges facing rural economic developers are myriad and the solutions are far from clear-cut. To learn more about the various paths some rural communities have pursued in search of jobs, read the full article in the third-quarter issue of EconSouth. Also, don't miss the Q&A feature with Lionel Beaulieau, director of the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University.